Death Valley is the largest national park in the lower 48 states. It consists of 3,000 sq miles of otherworldly landscapes of badlands, sand dunes, and some incredibly dark and clear night skies.
Here are six of the best hikes in Death Valley National Park:
Ubehebe and Little Hebe Craters Trail
The Ubehebe and Little Hebe Craters trail is a loop path at approx 1.5 miles in length and with 320-ft elevation gain. It is situated close to Independence, CA. This trail is a practical choice for hikers of all abilities and opens to the public from October to April.
Mosaic Canyon Trail
The Mosaic Canyon Trail is about 2.8 miles in length (there and back) with a 530-ft elevation gain and situated near Death Valley, CA. Great features on the Mosaic Canyon trail include the three dead waterfalls and gorgeous rock formations. This trail is a practical choice for the beginner to skilled hikers and opens to the public from October to April.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes Trail
The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes trail is approx 1.5 miles in length (there and back) and situated in Death Valley, CA. This trail is given a difficulty rating of moderate and usage is light. The preferred time to visit the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes is early morning. Great views are possible by hiking to the top of one of the highest dunes.
Grotto Canyon Trail
The Grotto Canyon trail at 4 miles in length (there and back) has a 540-ft elevation gain and situated in Death Valley, CA. This hiking trail is rated moderate with mostly light usage and open to the public from October to April. Great features of the hike include short, dry falls at 8-15-ft and grottoes. Certain sections of the hike might require the use of technical equipment.
Harmony Borax Works
The Harmony Borax Works trail is approx 1 mile in length (loop) and situated close to Death Valley in California. This hike is rated for all hiking abilities and opens to the public from October to March. While the Harmony Borax Works hike is short, it is still interesting with plenty of historical items to admire.
The Wildrose Peak trail is about 8.4 miles in length (there and back) and is situated on the west side of Death Valley. This hike has an 2000-ft elevation gain which includes climbing from the charcoal kilns to the summit of the Wildrose Peak. Great features of this trail include its stunning views and wildlife. It is open year-round and is dog-friendly (must be on a leash).
The rainfall is limited to around 2-inches per year and the temperatures range up to some of the highest ever recorded on Earth!
Because of this, in the high height of summer the park closes to campers. So the realistic season for hiking Death Valley is October through to April when the weather is more accommodating.
We would avoid hikes throughout the summer months when the high temperatures can be dangerous, especially in the low elevations (below sea level or on the salt flats).
If you really want to go through the summer, the high peaks are usually at a more acceptable temperate range in the summer.